A new year is upon us and many are thinking about resolutions for our personal lives. Whether it’s resolving to lose weight, quit smoking or spend less, this is the time of year we often feel optimistic for change. If you are a caregiver to a loved one (which many of us will be at some point in our lives) you may also be thinking about ways to improve your role as your loved one’s caregiver. Consider making the following 5 resolutions this year.
Ensure Balanced Nutrition
Good Nutrition is important for people of all ages, but is essential for seniors as it is vital for healthy aging. Eating vitamin-rich foods boosts immunity, fights illness-causing toxins and is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, bone loss, some cancers and anemia. Various fruits, leafy greens, fish and nuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that can improve a senior’s focus and decrease risk of Alzheimer’s disease. For your loved one this year, consider one of these two options suggested for seniors by the National Institute on Aging:
- USDA Food Patterns: Suggests that people 50 or over choose healthy foods daily from the following:
a. Fruits—1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups
b. Vegetables—2 to 3-1/2 cups
c. Grains—5 to 10 ounces
d. Protein foods—5 to 7 ounces
e. Dairy foods—3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk
f. Oils—5 to 8 teaspoons
g. Solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS)—keep the amount of SoFAS small
- The Dash Diet: The Dash Diet has shown to lower high blood pressure and improve blood lipid levels which can lessen the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The Dash Diet consists of:
a. Whole grains: 6 to 8 servings a day
b. Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings a day
c. Fruits: 4 to 5 servings a day
d. Low-fat or nonfat dairy: 2 to 3 servings a day
e. Lean meat, poultry, and fish: 2 to 3 servings a day
f. Nuts, seeds, and legumes: 4 to 5 servings a week
g. Healthy fats and oils: 2 to 3 servings a day
h. Sweets: 5 or less a week
Have All Documents In Order
Just like any good scout, it’s important to always “be prepared”. This also goes for having all your loved ones life documents in order. From End-of-life care choices to financial accounts numbers and passwords. It’s important to have these documents established, in order and to know their location while your loved one is healthy and in of right-mind.
Exercise – Physically and Mentally
We all know that exercise is good for everybody, but it is especially important for older adults. As we age our bodies lose strength which may result in falls, broken bones and a sedentary lifestyle. Help your loved one strengthen their bones and muscles by having them join in activities such as light walking around the neighborhood, mall or grocery store. There are also an abundance of exercises that can easily be done in your loved ones very own living room. Check out our blog: Elderly Exercise: 7 Exercises for an Aging Body for other great tips on exercising with the elderly.
Keeping fit isn’t only about being physical. Mental exercise is just as important to help keep a healthy mind. Studies show frequent participation in brain-stimulating activities can reduce cognitive decline in older people. Help your loved one improve their cognitive function by engaging in mental fitness activities like crossword puzzles, brain teasers and card games. A simple card game like Gin Rummy is a fun way to keep an older brain sharp by the use of memory and attentiveness.
Fall Proof the Home
Every year, over 2 million older people are treated for fall injuries, many of which happened in their home. Falls account for 95% of hip fractures and are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. From simple updates like securing loose carpet and rugs to installing more lighting and switches, preparing their home now can prevent a major injury later. Check out our blog: Fall Prevention in the Home to learn more about ways to help fall proof your loved ones home.
While being a caregiver to a loved one can be very rewarding, even the most resilient person can suffer physical and mental stresses that come with the role. Oftentimes caregivers become so focused on their loved one that they don’t realize that their own health and well-being may be suffering. As a caregiver it is important that you take time for yourself as you will do a better job caring for your loved one if you are not physically and mentally depleted. This year consider letting Assisted’s Caregiver Services assist you with your loved one so you can take time to nurture yourself.
For questions or to learn more about Assisted’s Home Healthcare and the services we offer, call 800-949-6555 or visit us at www.assisted1.com.